Book Art Program at Mills College Secures the First-Ever Endowed Chair

Share Article

A $2 million gift has been awarded to Mills College to support one of the most comprehensive Book Art programs in the nation.

Studio facilities and equipment include metal type, etching and relief presses, French handmade bookbinding equipment, and Apple workstations.

“Mills has embraced innovation and experimentalism in the arts for most of its history, and Book Art has been part of that spirit since 1930.”

Mills College is pleased to announce a $2 million gift to support the study of Book Art. The gift will establish the Lovelace Family Chair in Book Art which will appoint the first endowed faculty chair for the program, and is among the largest gifts ever made to the field, nationally.

The gift, jointly awarded by two donors, recognizes the national leadership of Mills’ Book Art program in the field, celebrates its longstanding presence as an integral part of Mills’ institutional identity, and ensures its stability and presence on campus in perpetuity.

“This extraordinary gift sends an important message that Mills’ academic programs will continue to flourish through the generosity of donors who make a difference by funding endowed chairs,” said Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman.

Book Art explores the nature of the book from its conceptual, historical, and theoretical standpoints. The emphasis on craft practice includes book structures, letterpress printing, typography, and hand bookbinding. Book Art, as a field of study, has been growing since the 1970s; Mills has been at the forefront of that growth, and has played a major role in furthering the field nationally and internationally. $2M is believed to be one of the largest gifts ever in support of the scholarly study and practice of artists' bookmaking.

“The Mills College Book Art Program strives to give students the fullest possible understanding of the field, but with an emphasis on combining traditional craft practices with 21st century technology and perspectives,” said Professor of Book Art Julie Chen. “It challenges students to consider the ever-changing role of the book as both reading object and art object in the current digital age. This endowment will allow us to continue to innovate and grow, and will help keep Mills College at the forefront of book art education.”

Two years ago, the Book Art Program was at risk for closure. Then-current students, program alumnae, and the international book art community rallied to garner support based on the importance of the program to the core mission of the college. Those extraordinary efforts helped to inspire the establishment of this chair.

The two donors, who wish to remain anonymous, are longtime admirers of Book Art and the work of Mills faculty Kathleen Walkup and Julie Chen. Kathleen Walkup will be the inaugural holder of the chair.

“Mills has embraced innovation and experimentalism in the arts for most of its history, and Book Art has been part of that spirit since 1930,” said Director of the Book Art Program Kathleen Walkup. “I could not be more grateful to the donors who have demonstrated so much faith in our program, and to the students, alumnae, and community members from around the world whose extraordinary efforts helped to keep the program vital through some challenging times.

“This endowment ensures that we can focus on future curriculum and new initiatives in an environment of security and stability. I am humbled and extremely honored to hold the inaugural Lovelace Family Chair in Book Art.”

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women with graduate programs for women and men. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of The Best 381 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers who take and inspire action. For more information, visit


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jeanne Herrera
Visit website